Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Be prepared for trips!

I got in Vermont on Sunday, thinking I had everything I needed. I had Camera, flash, 2 sets of batteries for the flash. (I didn't bring the charger, because I figured a week and 2 sets of batteries. I'm fine.) I was wrong. I got here, and tried to trigger my flash using the V2s. That didn't work. My flash wouldn't even test fire. I tried my other set of batteries, and it wouldn't charge. Where I am in vermont, I am 15 minutes from cell service and about 45 from a store that would sell batteries cheap. Luckily we went to a store today. Bought some Kodak Extramax batteries, Cost a bit more than i'd normaly pay for alkaline batts, but I don't want them to die.

The lesson, always bring the charger.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

The Moment it Clicks by Joe McNally

Joe McNally is an amazing photographer that works at National Geographic. Recently he wrote a book called The Moment it Clicks. The book was the top thing on my Christmas list, and I got it. I'm currently on vacation in vermont. On the 5 hour ride today I read the whole book. It was awesome. Over the next week I gotta re-read it and 'Pimp my McNally'

When I get back to my real computer (on my moms laptop now) I'll do a good write up. If you're not sure about buying it, heres an intro video on it.. If you don't think you'll like it, its not a photography how-to, its not a biography, its not boring. McNally writes how he talks, with a Brooklyn accent. (kinda)


Friday, December 26, 2008

Backing up Your photos

This is going be a quick guide on backing up those important photos. You invest a lot of money and time into your gear, and into your photos, why not invest a little money and a little time into keeping your photos safe? I don't really do as much as I should. I just have simple WD 250 USB external drive, and some DVD's.

The first thing I want to talk about is how often I back up. Every 3 months I do a quick copy to my External off all the new photos. (or if I shoot something important I'll back it up that day). Then every six months I'll copy all the new files onto my external., and burn everything to DVD's. After that I delete them off my computer, to free up space for the next six months. I am a bit of a worrier and I would hate to lose my photos, so it surprises me that that's all I do. I am in the process of helping my friend build a server (telling him how) and in exchange hes going to let me put a drive in it and use it. Offsite storage is very imporant. I am also planning on getting another external a much smaller one, one of the pocket hdds that I could keep in my bag. That wraps it up basically. Every six months I create a new light room catolog and delete the old one.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Day 12

Enjoy You're self.

Everybody have a happy holiday season! (thats not really photo related but) Also take photos of people. remember the memories.

I don't think I'll be making posts as regularly until January. I am going to try to spend my holidays with my family, and working on new posts that you'll see in the coming month.

Here's what you can be expecting from me in the next few weeks:

on December 31st/January 1st i'll be writing a post about backing up you're photos. I do this about every 6 months, and then delete them all off my computer. So you'll see that soon.

Then during January I hope to do a four part series on using lightroom. (remote shooting into LR, Work flow management, Editing, Exporting)

Happy Holidays everyone!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Day 11

Learn a new Post Processing Skill.

Since it's winter time and all, I decided to learn how to add falling snow. The tutorial I learned from was done by IceFlow Studios over on youtube. Here's a link to the video tutorial. So I am not going to go through it step by step here, although I will give kind of an outline/check list of what you need to do.

  1. Open an image
  2. Select the sky (using color range or your method)
  3. adjustment layer (hue, saturation) lower sat and lightness
  4. new>adjustment layer> photo filter> cooling
  5. new layer fill black
  6. filter>noise>add noise (Gaussian; monochromatic)
  7. filter>blur>blur more
  8. edit>adjustments>levels set the shadows, midtones and highlights all really close by the right side where the curve flattens out
  9. Blend mode>screen
  10. Filter>blur>motion blur (-60*; 10px)
  11. duplicate snow layer
  12. rotate top snow layer 180*
  13. free transform>top layer new width and hieght 200%
  14. filter>pixelate>crystallize (cell size~15)
  15. filter>blur>motion blur
  16. lower opacity of front snow layer then lower the back layer to alittle less
  17. duplicate lower/back layer and duplicate
thats just the gist. Watch the video to see how well it really looks.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Day 10

Today is going to be a short one, with just some xmas photos. Todays the last short one I hope, tomorrow is my last day of school!

First off, I photographed my Hard drive the other day. It's a WD 250GB usb external. Got it like last march, its been good to me. (mines a bit older than the one on newegg. This shot will tie along with a article you'll be able to read on January 1, 2009, About backing up your photos.

Let me explain the set up. (shot below) I first took one xmas striplight put it on a tripod handle so it was horizontal. above my subject. Also here I'll mention my backdrop, piece of $0.99 black poster board clamped to a light stand and curved onto a table. But back to the lights I took a second striplight and put it vertical cam left. Then to add a bit of right fill, I used a softbox.

Here are the results:

And here's another shot I took. This time I didn't use my xmas lights, went back to the vivitar. For this shot I have the vivitar cam left diffused through my circular diffuser at 1/4 power.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Day 9

Learn a new technique. Its not just photography hear. I took today to learn about screen printing.

Rather than Create photographs I created serigraphs. That link back there <- will take you to a wikipedia article, neat read, informative. But to better see what screen printing is,check out Bre Pettis's Make video on Weekend Projects: screen printing.

So I made a few today, with no equipment, and no experience, just some silky fabric, some foam board, some acrylic paint and contact paper. This isn't about my screen printing how to, that'll be sometime in February. To see what I made today check out my 'Serigraph' set on flickr. The results, are rubbish, but its 100% proof of concept, and I didn't lose more than 1sq foot of foam board (Not gunna use my paints for anything else) and the fabric I took from my mom :).

Get out and learn something new!


one of my better results ( I did 4) They're all of a riendeer stencle.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Day 8

Yesterday in my photos you saw a tripod with xmas lights on it. Thats my treepod.

I had a whole bunch of colored lights, and that extra ($5.00 garage sale lenmar tripod lying around) i figured, put the lights on it. Maybe you others will do the same?

Day 7

Today is all about printing your photos (for use as gifts, or modify the stuff slightly, and make them to sell)

First thing, you need a frame. I have a box in my attic, so I got out four frames for 8x10's (which will have 5x7's) and 4 fraes for 5x7's (which will have 4x6's). I cleaned the glass. here where I get a bit ocd, and you don't need to do this.

First, I mixed a glass cleaner (its a LCD screen cleaner gel and 70% isopropyl{rubbing alcohol}) then I put a bit on each side, and wipe with tissue paper (not tissues!). And wear gloves while you do this!! ALso, have some tissue paper ready, and when you're done, wrap them up, put the aside for now.

Now figure out how big you mat needs to be, and cut a few (for all your frames). If you have a mat board cutter, and a mat, use that otherwise use like hard-stock paper. Now figure out the center, and cut a window for you photo (about 1cm smaller than the print size on all sides)

Now that you have mats, and glass and frames. Print your photos out, highest quality, make sure they're edited, etc. Once they're out, hang them up to dry for a bit. Handle the ink-jet paper, before and after with gloves or tissue paper. Always avoid setting it print side down on the table (put out wax paper first)

Now put your photo in the mat, center it, and using masking tape, attach the TOP of the photo. Don't tape all around, remember it will shrink/grow a bit with the weather.

heres a quick, nice touch: take some wax paper as big as the glass, and put it in first. So that you put wax, glass, photo, back. Then when the person recieves it, they can take the wax off, and you wont touch the glass. Just like a new frame!

So now, put in your glass, photo back etc. Don't forget before you do that, sign and date the photo!(on the back)

Wrap it up!

From framed, to fully wrapped. See the wax on the glass.

A hint at whats in store tomorrow!


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Day 6

Go stock up on wrapping paper, flip it over, and you have like a 10yd by like 30 inch seamless white paper!

Sorry I didn't have time for more, busy today

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Day 5 - 360* Photos

Read about it a while back, on DIYP, you take a Silver round ornament, and mount it infront of your lens, so you can take 360ish panos. Check out the original article: here

Day 4 - Shoot you're Tree

Or what ever holiday stuff you want. I just decided to use our new Xmas Light diy things to shoot mine.
I put my strip light vertically on my lightstand cam right aimed at the tree, and I also had the softbox in the back.

My X-mas Tree. Post processing: Adjusted curves, levels, and added a vignette.

Heres the set up for that shot:

I also just took a few photos of ornaments. For this shot I just had a softbox cam right (I just held it there)

Xmas tree ornament

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Day 3

Day 3! We have another Xmas Light idea. Saw it over on DIY photography a while back. It's a Xmas light Ringlight Made by Matt Monroe.
I'd say he did an awesome job. Over 300 lights on that.

I tried to make one a while back, wasn't quite bright enough. Hopefully, After xmas there'll be some Battery operated white lights at the dollar store, and I can buy enough to make a good one of these huh?

12 DIYP's day 2!

its day 2 already! So today, I am doing more with xmas lights. today, we are making a small softbox.

You need a tissue box, some white xmas lights, tape, glue, foil, something flexible and translucent.

First, cut your box so it doesnt have a top (where the tissues come out) cut that all away. Now Line that with foil (tape it, glue it, how ever you want.) Cut a hole in the back or side, for your plug to go out. Now, toss the lights in, if you wanted to be more particular you could tape them down neatly, so they spread the light better. I didn't. Now tape that translucent plastic over the front, if its kinda a frostly clear, you can leave it or put diffusion over it (tissue paper) if its clear clear, put some tissue paper over it.

Now, for the shots here, I used the softbox camera left, and I used the striplight you hopefully made yesterday above the subjects in a horizontal position.

Milk and Ginger Bread Cookies!

Milk and Cookies, but for this photo I introduced a background light in the form of my 5500*K Daylight Desklamp.

The set up, with the softbox visible in the bottom left.

Thanks for reading!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

12 DIYP's of Christmas Day1

Hey everyone! it's been a while since I have made a post, and with it being the holidays, I figured I'd make 12 diy projects for christmas (all relating to, or using x-mas time stuff). I am of course, going to be writing a few in advance, and posting one each day. If Anyone has any ideas, please email me (jakeoc19 At Twcny dot rr dot com). I may run out, and that would stink.

Day 1:
A few of my projects are going to use X-mas lights, and today, I made a strip light kinda.

First, you need a wrapping paper tube. (just the cardboard) although you could use anything like it (ie: pvc) Next take your white xmas lights, and tape them on. Now you're done. I added 3 velcro straps to mine. So I could mount it on a lighstand.

mounted vertically on the lighstand.

Sample of vertical

mounted horizontal

mounted horizontal sample

Click through the 12 DIYP's of X-MAS for more shots. Check back each day for a new one

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Winter (weather) proof your gear!

Hello everyone! Been quite a while, and I still have yet to do a follow up on the 8 items for any DIYer. But I have designed some new gear, for winter (for those of us in the cold snowy areas and such. I got about 10 inches of snow in the past 2 days, and I've gone out a few times to shoot and I was worried I'd get my camera wet. (the tripod accessories I made a while ago).

First lets DIY up our tripod, get it ready for the weather (kinda)
What you'll need:
4x 9*12 Foamies (i chose black
9 Velcro Cable ties
Duct tape or any strong tape(possibly matching your foamies color
Masking tape, or gaffers, or duct, doesnt matter here.

So first you'll be making 3 tripod leg wraps. First take a foamie and roll up 2 pieces of tape stick one on each corner (of the 9inch side)
Next stick this to one of your tripod legs in the middle. (so the 9" part runs up the leg and the 12" is perpendicular)
Now take your strong tape (I used Duct) and put a little piece over each corner for reinforcement.
Now put a slice in each one so you can run a velcro strap through them.
Wrap the foamie around the leg tightly, and use your velcro straps to secure it on.

Repeat this for both or just one more leg.

Now, lets make the tripod feet.

Take one 9x12 sheet, and cut it into 3 lengths 9" long by 4" wide, fold them in half, tape at the seams, attach a foamie to the top, and now your tripod feet wont get covered in snow!

Now, the last thing I made was a bit of a cover, for when its snowing or raining, or any other kind of precipitation. Mine is made in 3 parts from about 3 large ziplock bags and 1 medium and 1 sandwhich.

Frist thing, take a foamie and a velcro strap to make a thin thing that will attach to the end of your lens (where the hood screws on, this will just be tightened on.) (see this photo: http://flickr.com/photos/jakeoconnell/3051450842/)
Now, zoom your lens all the way in, and cut a length of plastic (single layer of bag) so its about that one, and hangs over each side of the lens by about 2 inches.

Now cut a piece that's a little wider than your camera body and it should go from about the MF ring/focus window to 1 inch or so off the back of the camera.

The Lens piece needs to be taped to the top of the foamie attacher-thingy, then attach the body cover to the lens cover. Thats the body piece.

Now, we take the medium sized ziplock, and put out flash in it. We cut out a rectangle in the bottom of the bag, so the flash head barely pokes out. Now attach your favorite velcro to the bag, so the flash head secures in. If the bag is long enough to go down over the foot when the flash is bent, stop there. If not, then cut the bottom of a sandwich bag and tape it on so it makes it long enough.

Now, we need one last piece. It goes from the viewfinde to the front of the onboard flash, and hangs off the sides about 4 inches. this is to keep your hands dry. cut a hole in it for the shoe. Now put the lens/body cover on the lens (dont cover the body yet) and then put the top cover on. Cover your flash and attach to the shoe (this will keep the top cover in place) and wrap the body cover around the flash and your good.


Thursday, September 4, 2008

8 craft store items every DIY photographer needs

Back in November I started making DIY photography stuff. First I made a PVC backdrop stand and some muslin backdrops. Then I made my Magic Arm. Followed by a whole bunch of projects. In the last 10 months I've stumbled across awesome stuff that has a million and one practical uses in diy photography. Here's a list of some of my top picks, and practical uses for them.

1. Foamies - These flexible multi-sized and multi-colored foam sheets (I use the 2mm thick ones) have a lot of uses, and I have just started to discover them. I found out about Foamies from the "Nice LoupedeDoupe", which is the first thing you should make with your Foamies. Next there's a whole host of flash mod's you could use these for, I used a 9x12 sheet to make a snoot, I lined the whole 12" side so it would wrap around my flash and then added 2 strips of velcro to it, so it could then attach to itself and close. Then when I made my straw girdspot, i glued a foamies around it, and when I want to use it, I put it inside my snoot.

2. Adhesive Backed Velcro - You can use this for everything, hanging photos on walls or all your DIY photo projects. Remember that snoot I was just talking about, that uses velcro. use it to attach gels to your flash, or you're cactus trigger to your flash. I keep about 5 ft of velcro in my camera bag for on location shooting and everything. You never know when you will need it. get at least 15 feet of the black stuff.

3. Velcro Cable Ties - I recently used these for my speed strap, I also used them for the cables in my camera bag. When I was at office max yesterday I decided I would use them a lot more, because I saw 50 of them for S4.69. I have a few up and coming DIY projects these will be shown in.

4. Mylar - this stuff I've read is like 3x more reflective the foil, and its also cheap. $0.50 nets you 5084 sq inches. Why use this, its cheap, and its more reflective. Use it in you're softboxes or hang it up on a wall and bounce a flash into it, really good way to light a room.

5. Coroplast (Corrugated Plastic) - this is corrugate plastic, use it for gridspots or softbox sides. use it with some foamies and velcro to make some new divider inserts for your camera bag. Use it as a gobo, or make some barn doors out of it.

6. Foil - Use it for quick snoots on the go, as a reflective surface rather than buying mylar, because I'm sure you have it lying around. make a hemlet to shield yourself from radiation. make some props out of it if you're taking a futuristic style photo.

7. PVC Pipe - Make Backdrop Stands, or a reflector holder . Use the stuff to re-create the entire California Sunbounce line
. Or, as you'll see in an upcoming project, make a PVC rain machine, which I am making for video, but you could use the concept for photography.

8. Painters Tape - If you're like me $23.00 is way to much to spend on 60 yards of Gaffers Tape so why not buy painters tape, its not super sticky, and you can get cheap stuff about $1.00 a roll. Its not as versatile as gaffers tape, its a little weaker and less sticky. but also its blue, which could cast some odd color reflections if its in the wrong spot.

I'm gunna have that wrap up my post on 8 craft store items every DIY photographer needs. So now what I want you to do, is in the comments show some photos and a description of your use of one of those. Got another item we all need? post it to, and share the practical uses. In a few weeks I'll make a new post of user submitted needs. (not limited to craft store items.)

Hope you enjoyed it and learned something!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Daniel Devine's 16:9 Cinema Shot

DD is a friend of mine from over at Camera Labs and he has recently started photographing weddings for a company called Devine images, in Scotland, This is a photo he took at his 3rd wedding, and I really like this shot, so I posted it here.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

DIY 3 Dollar 10 Second Speed Strap

Seen those SpeedStraps by Honl Photo and you really think they're cool, but you don't want to dish out upwards of $20 for a bit of velcro. Well if you have 3 Dollars and 10 seconds, you can have you're very own, no-sew speedstrap for all your accesories.

First you're going to need to make a trip to your local supermarket and buy some 'Velcro Brand Design Straps' (the small size 8inches by 1/2inch) these are like those little cable ties.

Next you're going to need is a fat rubber band, you know how theres wider ones, and then thin ones, get a wide one that will be big enough to wrap around your flash.

Now put your rubber band around your flash head align your two velcro straps and strap them together, so to tighten it you pull one end throu the loop of the other.

I hope the video can illustrate that more clearly for you.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Vivitar 285HV

I've been on vacation for the last week or so guys, and as promised my review, of the Vivitar 285HV flash unit.

First thing I would like to say a+ to B&H photo for super fast shipping, 2 days before expected. When I got my flash the first thing I noticed was the simplicity of the packing, which is awesome, just open the box, slide the flash out, and take out the book, the diffuser and sync cord which were in baggies. I think that its great packing, there's not a lot of plastic, and packaging and all that stuff that is really bad for the environment, plus the box looked cool--very retro. When I got the flash out the first thing I noticed, was how well built it was, it felt solid. I put in my batteries (which I am going to post about later on) I had a bit of trouble 'forming the capacitors' but from what I did, it seems you just put it on 1/1 power (the 'm' setting) and keep firing the flash a few times. Anyway, once I got it working it was AWESOME!
So, now I'm going to show you my little intro video, then continue going where I left off in the video.

So to go onto the exposure calculator dial, (which you can actually back light by pressing the white button next to the green indicator light) in the video I had no idea how to use it, really truely. I think after playing with it for a week I've deciphered the auto modes. What you need to do, is turn your ISO dial, to your selected ISO, and make sure that your other thing is at full power, (the bottom wheel) now, you look for the aperture you want to use, and set the dial on the front to the color the corresponds to the aperture. Then you set your shutter speed to 1/125th and aperture to the one you've used on your flash and voila. it may take a bit of fine tuning using the aperture to control the amount of light. Thats about it for the Vivitar, the manual features are great, but I'd really love to see a lot more, all you have is 1/1 1/2 1/4 and 1/16, i'd love to see 1/8 and lower than 1/16.

If you don't already have one, for $89.00 go buy one.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Holiday, and suggestions for new videos

Hello everyone, probably wont be posting for a while, because I am in Vermont helping out some family, and I will return home around thursday at which point I will be packing and heading back to my vacation home in northern New York. On my current trip I plan on doing some archetural shooting, unfortunetally I didn't bring my Fuji (which I use to make videos). As for Camp I plan on shooting a lot of landscape shots. I will bring my fuji to camp, and make a video there I hope, if I can get my Vivitar 285HV's get some flash use shots. I will also make some videos about landscape shooting, and shooting in the woods, I hope.

I'd like some suggestions for videos to make while on holiday in the woods, so post them down in the comments, I'd appreciate it loads.

Post again thursday...


Thursday, July 24, 2008

DIY: Water Resistant Hard Camera Case

Hey everyone, Just to fill you in I've created a DIY hard case that is water resistant, so this will be a bit of a tutorial/guide on how to make your own. Unfortunately I didn't take any shots during the making, but it should be super simple to figure out.
First we have our the bag that my cooler lives in I've attached a shoulder strap, this is just because the cooler is ugly. and now we have the interior of the cooler, which is made of 3 layers of 2" foam one is completely solid and the other two are cut out to fit around the kit lens. Because the cooler isn't large enough to cut the foam the way I'd like i had to add a very thin piece to the back that just slides in to protect the LCD and viewfinder. I also took 4 layers of quilt stuffing stuff and made a top.

How to make you're own:
Take an old cooler fill it with one solid layer of foam, now cut 2 layers of two inch foam to fit your lens and then take a thinner layer to protect the back, easy as that, cover the foam with fabric if you want. Email me if you create one so I can see, and if I like them I'll add the photos on here! (Jakeoc19 (AT) twcny(dot)rr(dot)com)

I've created a bit of a video just demonstrating the case, I should add now, that the case isn't water tight, but it would keep out rain and such.

Additional, you could post you're images in the comments, can't wait to hear from you.


Monday, July 21, 2008

Video: Simple 1 Light set up

The other day I saw some flowers in a salt shaker on my table and thought It would make a neat photo, so I made a video of the set up and break down of the set up. I used 1 75watt/hour Daylight Balanced CFL bulb cam left a gold reflector cam right, and a 5-1 reflector (white side) behind the subject acting as a background. I had to blur the background in Photoshop so that is a little evident around the edges. Way back when I first got my 40D I took a shot with the exact same set up I liked a little better, so check it out, here.

Sorry for the really bad audio quality!

Video: New Gear

I recently ordered a new camera bag and a large rocket Blower from B&H, which I highly recommend for buying photo gear, very competitively priced, and super fast shipping.

I ordered the Canon Deluxe Backpack 200Eg and the Giottos Large Rocket Blower. So I have a video of the opening of my new gear, and also the packing of my new bag, which will truely hold my 40D and 28-135 (ƒ3.5-5.6) just fine, can't wait to need a new bag though, because it will mean I have a lot of gear.

Video: Macro Photography

Hello again everyone, here's the second video in my series. I was out in my yard cutting the grass when I found a dead beetle, that was very large, so I decided to take a photo of it. In this video I will walk you through the set up I used to take it.

(Click on the Thumbnail for larger image)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Video: Canon 40D HighSpeed Shooting Demo

Hey everyone, this is my first post since the 'Welcome' which I believe blogger creates for you. That's because I have been deciding what to post about and, I have decided I will interview photographers, and also make a lot of videos, demonstrating techniques and all. This is my first video, demonstrating the 6.5FPS of the 40d, but actually putting it to use, and not just holding the shutter down.

I set my camera up on a tripod, and took photos while I threw water balloons at the ground.

here is one of the shots: (for more see the Gallery)


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Welcome Readers

Readers, welcome to my blog. I really don't know what the point of this blog will be, maybe a little to show off work, but the title "exposure" would suggest I am exposing something and I hope to interview a lot of photographers, and aspiring photographers on the blog.

let me know any ideas you have and what you would like to see on this blog in the future.